End of the Tour

Johannesburg Travel Blog

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Leaving for Johannesburg
Today was my last day on the tour and this meant I had to leave the truck and fly to Johannesburg.  It was really sad saying goodbye to the people who were continuing down to Cape Town as we had all got on so well as a group and after spending five weeks in such close proximity we knew each other quite well.

The six of us going to Jo'burg checked our bags in at the airport then had a quick drink in a cafe before boarding the plane, a small propeller propelled craft.  The flight was really smooth except for the landing when we experienced a lot of turbulence and the plane was moving about quite a lot in the air.  Jo'burg airport was really efficient and we had a transfer arranged to take us to The Ritz backpackers.
Shanty town
  Once checked in we took a walk to a big, modern shopping centre to get food.  It felt like we were in a different world after spending five weeks on the road, traveling through dusty, run down towns.

The following day some of us left to go to a cheaper hostel and took a tour of Soweto, the largest township of Johannesburg.  This was very interesting and we were told about the atrocity of the Soweto uprising.  This happened on 16th June 1976 when school children protested against the government implementing a scheme where all students would be forced to learn Afrikaans (a language derived from Dutch) and exams and would also be written in this language.  Imagine if your government suddenly said that teachers must now teach their subject in Korean and all exam papers would also be written in Korean, regardless of your mother tongue.

Old power plant now used for bungee jumps
 It was no surprise that the students protested.

It is not know who gave the initial order to shoot but this is what the police did and as school childed fled for their lives some were slain by the onslaught of bullets.  A 12 year old boy, Hector Pieterson was one of the first to be shot and there is a famous photograph of a fellow student carrying his dying body as his sister holds on in hysterics.  To this day June 16th is  national holiday where the youth are celebrated.

Soweto is both very rich and very poor.  When we stopped on one road we could look to our left and see the housing provided by the government, with broken walls, shared water and port-a-loos outside.  On our right were houses costing millions of dollars.  The worst were the shanty towns, home to people who were out of work and had not yet been rehoused by the government, who are at least trying to help these people.

Nelson Mandela's house in Soweto, Johannesburg

We also saw the house of Nelson Mandela, an incredible man and someone who I would love to meet.

On the way back to the youth hostel we were driven through the centre of Johannesburg.  There was not a single white person on the street.  If there was they would be mugged.  The centre of Jo'burg is not the place to be.  Thankfully our youth hostel was in a safe area so we were free to wander to the shops if we wanted to.

I have loved my time in Africa and I can now say that I have at least seen a small section of this huge continent.  There is plenty more to see though and I would love to come back.

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Leaving for Johannesburg
Leaving for Johannesburg
Shanty town
Shanty town
Old power plant now used for bunge…
Old power plant now used for bung…
Nelson Mandelas house in Soweto, …
Nelson Mandela's house in Soweto,…
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Gemini Backpackers Lodge
The main problem with this hostel is that the common room is right next to the dorm beds, so when you are trying to get to sleep you can hear the TV a… read entire review
Johannesburg Hostels review
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The Ritz Backpackers of Johannesburg is located away from the dangers of the city centre and instead is in a safe, clean neighbourhood. There are sho… read entire review